AX 2019 Interview with TRIGGER & the PROMARE Team

TRIGGER’s newest project PROMARE took Anime Expo by storm last year even before the film had a Wikipedia page on it. After dropping the mic at their grand reveal, the creative team behind the masterpiece brought the movie to premiere at Anime Expo 2019. PROMARE opened in Japan on May 24th and quickly gained international traction as shining reviews fired up animation fans on the web. The story follows a fireman named Galo Thymos (many fans note he bears a striking resemblance to Kamina from Gurren Lagann) and the Burning Rescue Fire Department as they fend off the BURNISH, a group of flame-producing humans. APA interviewed director Hiroyuki Imaishi, producer and creative director Hiromi Wakabayashi, and designers Shigeto Koyama and Super Log, discussing what fans can look forward to for the stateside September release.

The feature length movie is distributed by GKIDS in North America, with a premiere event on September 17th (English dub) and 19th (Japanese dub with English subtitles). Tickets are currently on sale here.

APA: What does PROMARE mean and why name the little flame beings as such? Fans have looked into the Latin roots of the word itself and have been speculating how it relates to the plot.

Hiroyuki Imaishi: We are using the Latin word, which is borrowed from the Greek word “Prometheus,” and there is a lot but we don’t want to elaborate on it just yet. We encourage fans to keep talking and thinking about the movie.

APA: What inspired the story of PROMARE? In that world, there’s a prejudice against the BURNISH, but what was the intention?

Hiromi Wakabayashi: The discrimination against the BURNISH by mankind wasn’t a major point that we wanted to feature. The theme is apparent in Imaishi and Nakashima’s other works such as Gurren Lagann, where mankind is oppressed underground.

APA: PROMARE is colorful and cel-shaded work that is also line-less. Whose decision was it to go with that style?

Imaishi: It was my decision to do that. In Japan, this method of going line-less is called color tracing. We had a lot of success with that in our previous work, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, where that was also done in CG. We believe that it was successful in producing the animation, and we wanted to give a different tone and atmosphere compared to Kill la Kill and Space Patrol Luluco.

APA: Are you excited to premiere PROMARE at Anime Expo? What reaction are you hoping to see in the audience since PROMARE is TRIGGER’s first original movie?

Wakabayashi: We’ve always announced our titles and as we’ve shared the latest information at AX for several years now, we’d like that tradition to continue. For PROMARE, three years ago we teased the concept and last year we showed a bit of the teaser visual. This year we’re bringing the entire thing, and in our mind, we wanted Anime Expo to be the overseas premiere.

Imaishi: American audiences are more vocal with their opinions compared to fans in Japan, so I’m excited to see how they perceive it.

APA: I could hear the cheers in my head when I was screening the movie. It’s definitely one that you have to watch in theaters with other fans to really get the full experience.

Wakabayashi: Hopefully they’ll be happy with our new movie. [laughs]

Shigeto Koyama: At least for PROMARE in Japan, a lot of moviegoers were “cheering” while they’re watching the movie, which is rare. If that’s not the case in the States, we’ll be very worried.

APA: There seems to be a lot of comic book style angling and influence in PROMARE. As my final question, were there any particular homages that are called out in PROMARE?

Imaishi: I’ve been inspired by Marvel and DC my whole life, so this is nothing new. This applies to all of my works and not just PROMARE. I don’t think we specifically thought about making any homages in PROMARE.

Wakabayashi: That’s why we refer to PROMARE as our masterpiece installment to Imaishi’s work.

Kalai Chik

Pop culture writer focusing on animation, music, and games. Los Angeles native, USC alumni, and contributor for Asia Pacific Arts since 2015. Follow me on Twitter, @kalai_chik.

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